An American Family History

Holmes Family

Plymouth (Plimouth or Plimoth) is in Plymouth County, Massachusetts and was the site of the colony founded in 1620 by the Mayflower passengers.

John Holmes, Sr. was born about 1612.,

John's children may have included:

John Holmes (1636, married Patience Faunce and Patience Bonham Willis) and
Nathaniel Holmes (1643, married Mercy Faunce).

John was in Plymouth, Massachusetts before October, 1632, when he bought a house and six acres of from William Palmer.

In 1636/37 he was made freeman.

In 1638 he was appointed Messenger of the Court, and his duties included being summons server, jailer and executioner.

On March 5, 1638/39 John Holmes, the messenger, was presented for sitting up in the night, or all the night, drinking inordinately at John Emerson's house.

To be presented to the court meant to be charged or indited.



from Plymouth Colony, Its History & People, 1620-1691 by Eugene Aubrey Stratton

John Holmes [Sr.], arrived at Plymouth before October 1632, when he bought a house and six acres of land from William Palmer. In 1638 he was appointed Messenger of the Court, and his duties included being summons server, jailer and exectioner. His wife was probably Sarah Holmes, and he had two sons,

John Holmes [Jr.], who married
1) Patience Faunce, daughter of John and Patience (Morton) Faunce and
(2) Patience Bonham, daughter of George and Sarah (Morton) Bonham;

and Nathaniel Holmes, who married Mercy Faunce sister of Patience Faunce.

Both sons had large familes and thus there are many descendants. . .

American colonists continued to use British monetary units, namely the pound, shilling and pence for which £1 (or li) equalled 20s and 1s equalled 12d. In 1792 the dollar was established as the basic unit of currency.

Alcohol played a significant role in the daily lives of colonists; even children. They feared polluted water and believed in alcohol's nourishing and medicinal properties.

Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England, Nathaniel B. Shurtleff and David Pulsifer, eds., 12 volumes in 10 (Boston 1855-1861)

[John Holmes, Sr.] In list of Plymouth freemen, 6 March 1636/7.

On 4 December 1638 "Mr. John Holmes is sworn messenger for the whole government"
and he served in that capacity until at least 1643.

Petit jury, 4 October 1636, 4 September 1638.

On 5 March 1638/9 "John Holmes, the messenger, [was] presented for taking five shillings for serving of a warrant," and was discharged. He was also presented at the same court for "sitting up in the night, or all the night, drinking inordinately, when he was sent about public business" and for "abusing other men's names to procure wine to drink amongst others inordinately."

On 3 January 1643/4 "Mr. John Holmes, the Messenger," submitted his accounts for the preceding three years, indicating that the colony owed him £10 9s. 8d.

The court on 7 October 1651 recorded a "note of what is due unto Mr. Holmes, the marshal, from Duxburrow, of his wages there.

In Plymouth section of 1643 Plymouth Colony list of men able to bear arms.

Assessed 18s. in Plymouth tax lists of 25 March 1633 and 27 March 1634.

"Mr. Holmes" was allotted hay ground between Mr. Smith and James Hurst on 14 March 1635/6 and on 20 March 1636/7.

On 16 October 1632 "Mr. John Holmes" purchased a house and six acres adjoining Reed Pond from William Palmer.

On 5 February 1637/8 Mr. John Holmes "desired enlargement above his house, & the wood to be stayed from felling & carrying away."

On 7 August 1638 "Mr. John Holmes requested 10 or 12 acres of lands at his lot's end, to be viewed & laid him forth; as also a little parcel of meadow at the Reed Pond." On 1

October 1638 "Mr. John Holmes is granted ten acres of land, lying at his lot end."

On 31 December 1641 "Mr. John Holmes is granted forty acres of upland at Narrogansett Hill, lying betwixt the highway and Derby's Ponds."

At an unknown date "Mr. John Holmes of Plymouth, Messenger," sold to Experience Mitchell of Duxbury "all those his two acres of marsh meadow lying next unto the meadow of Experience Michell aforesaid."

On 1 April 1633 John Holmes "was censured for drunkenness, to sit in the stocks, & amerced in twenty shillings fine." He was several other times cited for drunkenness.

On 27 March 1637 "William Spooner of Colchester," Essex, indentured himself to "John Holmes of New Plymouth in America gent." for a term of six years.

John Holmes took Dorothy Temple into his service in 1639, relieving Stephen Hopkins of his contractual agreement to keep her as a servant.

John Holmes was defendant in civil suits on 2 January 1637/8, 3 March 1639/40, 5 October 1640 and 7 March 1642/3.

On 7 October 1651 "Mr. John Holmes" sued Joseph Warren (for battery) and Edward Doty (for trespass and assault), and prevailed in both cases.

Some Puritans gave their children hortatory names (from the Latin for “encourage”) like Thankful, hoping that the children would live up to them. The names were used for several generations.

A gentleman had no title, but descended from an aristocratic family, was of the landed gentry, and had a coat of arms.

Mister ( Mr.) was derived from master and Mrs. and Miss were derived from mistress. They indicated people of superior social status in colonial America.
To be presented to the court meant to be charged or indited.

Sarah Morton Bonham (1618-1694) married George Bonham.

from National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volume 1 through present (1912)

Children of John Holmes, Sr.
i   John [Holmes], b. say 1636; m. (1) Plymouth 20 November 1661 Patience Faunce, daughter of John Faunce m. (2) about 1681 Patience (Bonham) Willis, widow of Richard Willis.
ii   (prob.) Nathaniel [Holmes], b. about 1643 (died 25 July 1727 in his eighty-fourth year; m. Plymouth 29 December 1667 Mercy Faunce, daughter of John Faunce

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©Roberta Tuller 2020
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